So, yesterday I decided to finally post my news on Facebook. I figured this was the type of thing that people shared - new jobs, new babies, a great trip, an engagement - the stuff of life that people tend to want to know about you. I wasn't at all prepared for the response.
So many people, from far-flung corners of my life, took the time to say congratulations, or just to "like" my happiness. Kids from my past fifth and sixth grade classes, people I've been in shows with, kids from my high school, kids from shows I've directed at my New School. I felt so incredibly overwhelmed and humbled to have so many people care about what happens to me. I was thinking of that line in It's a Wonderful Life, where Clarence says, "Each man's life touches so many others..." It's amazing to me how many people I have known and engaged with over the years, and when my friend Dillon posted, "Could this be any more like the scene at the end of It's a Wonderful Life? To KHB, the richest girl in town!" I just lost it, and sobbed.
Who am I ever to feel unhappy? How dare I for a moment ever feel sad or lonely, or forget how very supported I am in the world? I have everything a person could ever want in life, and this was just another huge reminder to be grateful grateful grateful and to try to be kind, and to try, whenever possible, to reach out in this way to other people, and to tell them how much I appreciate them and what they mean to me. It feels so uplifting. Life is so funny...you get up every day, and make the coffee, and drive to work, and toil away, and talk to people and listen, and you just never know what lingers. Careful the things you say.
The best of all was the email from Matt's mom, congratulating me and telling me again how much Beauty and the Beast had meant to their family, and how New School is lucky to have me. How do I express to her how much it meant to me? How knowing Matt has changed my life completely, and is directly responsible for this whole thing even happening? More than anyone else in my life, Matt taught me how much it can matter, and how worthwhile it can be. I prayed to him during this process...his mom's email felt like a shout-out back from him.
This reminds me, too, to make extra sure that I am worthy of this wonderful opportunity. I have much to learn and study before I start; I need to be totally devoted to that. I want to build something special there. My vision is a little corner of the school that has the inclusive and protective vibe of the UMass Theatre Guild, where anyone can fly their own Freak Flag and know that they will find other kindred freaks around. I want the theater and vocal music programs to have the sense of service and social responsibility that Company has, where theater is place for kids to both learn and teach themselves and their audiences how to make the world a little better. I want to have a devoted aspiration to excellence that this school is worthy of, where kids take real skills and experiences with them into their futures. And through it all, we'll...you know... sing about it.
I am grateful for this outpouring, and for my raspberry coffee in the pink travel mug that Abby gave me for Christmas. I am grateful for the things that make my children so happy - Amelia's show, Abby's joyful obsession with the Hunger Games (or whatever is the joyful obsession du jour). I am grateful for the Easter Egg Hunt with my Tribe this weekend, with laughs and cameras and new babies and Tom's mimosas. I'm grateful for my in-law's new home and my upcoming trips to see Elise and Craig and the coming of spring for real. Nothing is ever perfect, and everyone's life has shadows, but this whole thing yesterday was such a powerful reminder to always, always look to the light. I want to focus on the best of everything, and just remember to say thank you. I intend to double my efforts in this regard.